Nielsen Q3 2016 Comparable Metrics shows how quickly the landscape of connected device usage is shifting. The connected TV and smartphone continue to grow strongly, while the tablet and PC lose ground.
Smartphone the video and social growth leader
The connected device growth leader for video remains the smartphone. Smartphone users watched 83% more video on their device in Q3 2016 than one year earlier. The amount of video consumed remained relatively small: smartphone users watched about 11 minutes a day on their device.
Video usage in social networks like Facebook and Twitter is not counted by Nielsen in its calculation of device video usage. Instead, Nielsen lumps all usage together in the general social network category for each device. Given the importance of video to social networks, it’s worth examining this data more closely. Smartphone users spent 30% more time with their favorite social sites in Q3 2016 than one year earlier. They now keep up with their friends 318 minutes a week, or over 45 minutes a day.
Not only are people consuming more video on their smartphones, more are engaging in the activity. 119M people, or just under half of all smartphone users, watched video on their device in Q3 2016, an increase of almost 20M people. Social network usage is becoming synonymous with smartphone usage. 73% (or 177M) used social networks on their phone in Q3 2016.
Connected TV wins for engagement
Though the connected TV is not growing in usage as fast as the smartphone, it is watched for 7 times longer. Time spent watching video on the connected TV grew 12% between Q3 2015 and 2016, to 1 hour and 7 minutes per day. Slightly more people are using the devices as well. Penetration increased 2.4%, with 105M people watching video on the devices every other day.
PC usage mixed
The PC continues to be an important device for both video and social network usage. Though the number of people watching video through their PC declined 2.2% for the year to Q3 2016, 73M do still use the device to watch. Those that continue to use it are watching a lot more. Viewing increased 40% to Q3 2016, with users watching 52 minutes per day.
Though many social sites say most of their traffic is through mobile devices, the PC remains an important platform. 29% of US adults spend 318 minutes a week using their PC to visit social sites.
Tablet in full-scale decline
The tablet has really fallen out of favor with consumers. Time spent watching video on the device by users declined sharply, down 6% from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016. Smartphone users are now watching the same amount of video on their device as tablet users are on theirs. This even though normally the bigger the screen the longer people watch. The one piece of good news for the device is that more tablet owners are using it to watch video.
As well, social use on tablets declined sharply. Social reach through tablets fell from 36% to 30% and time in social apps fell 34% to 128 minutes per week.
Why it matters
The smartphone remains the focus of growth for video and social network consumption.
Connected TV usage is growing more slowly than the smartphone, but engagement is the best of any connected screen.
Fewer people use their PC to watch video and to use social networks. Video usage, on the other hand is up.
Tablet usage for video and social is in full-scale decline.